Imagine that each morning you get up and toss a coin. If it lands on heads, then for the rest of that day you will be happy and cheerful. If it lands on tails, then for the rest of that day you will be fed up and miserable. Sounds a bit stupid, right? However, this is not a million miles away from what many people do. I am often alarmed by the number of comments I hear in which people openly admit that they are using a daily random event outside of their control to decide what mood they should adopt.
I am talking about the weather. I can't blame people. This is ingrained in our culture. We actually have phrases like 'miserable weather'. How stupid is that phrase if you stop for a moment and think about it?
"Hello sleet, how are you today?"
"I'm really depressed. Nobody loves me. All I ever get to do is fall from the sky. Just once I would like to shine."
"Hmmm. I see. What about you grey cloud?"
"Leave me alone. I don't want to talk about it. It's all right for white clouds. Oh, yes. Everyone likes fluffy little white clouds. 'Oooh, aren't they lovely? I think I can see Rolf Harris' face in that one.' Fluffy little white t***ers."
On television, the weather forecasters encourage us to be glum by telling us 'it is going to be a grey and miserable start to Monday morning'.
I have two young children, aged 5 and 6 and I can tell you for certain that so far they have never allowed their moods to be affected by the weather. Other parents correct me if I am wrong, but I am fairly confident this is true for all young children. So there must be a time in our lives at which we start letting our mood be affected by the weather. We must be teaching our children to allow their moods to be affected by the weather. We must be gradually teaching out of them their unshakable youthful joy an exuberance. I have to admit, I catch myself doing it sometimes and have to stop myself. I catch myself looking out of the window and telling my happy smiling children that what they naturally assumed was going to be another fun packed 24 hours of fun, laughter, exploration and adventure is, in fact, a miserable day.
I really must cut that out.
That leads me on to a question that I am sometimes asked. The question is: 'Why are you so (damned) happy?' There is only one answer to that question that really makes any sense, and that answer is: 'Because it feels nice.' My thanks to my beautiful daughter Lottie for reminding me of this last Christmas.
It is very common for people to think that they must have some external reason to feel happy. They must wait for the sun to shine, for a pay rise, for their football team to win, for the love of their life to appear or for it to be the weekend. This is surely madness, as mad as tossing a coin. Happiness is a choice, so asking why I choose to be happy is like asking why I choose not to stick big hot spikes in my eyes.
Happiness is the obvious default choice. Why? Because it feels nice. Why do we ever choose anything else?
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